In the Scarlet Letter two of the primary characters are provided by the author to show us a kind of foil. The one character, Reverend Dimmesdale, seems as if he is kind, but he has been living with a terrible burden, hindering him everywhere he goes. Chillingworth is his opposite, you would assume him to be nice when really he is quite evil. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth bring out each other’s characteristics and bring out the characteristics of other characters around them.
Dimmesdale and Chillingworth but heads in every aspect of their lives especially when it comes to Hester, who just so happens to be the only hing they have in common. Dimmesdale is a kind person who just wants to do the right thing but doesn’t have the courage to confess to his crime. In Chapter 12 of the Scarlet Letter Dimmesdale states, “Then, and there, before the judgment seat, they mother, and thou, and I, must stand together. ” He knows that he needs to confess in order to be absolved of his sins and have the burden lifted from him, and yet he doesn’t.
Once it comes to Dimmesdale’s confession we are relieved because it wasn’t one hundred percent clear that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father, so at this point in time the audience is happy to know the truth. As the book ontinues to develop so does the character of Dimmesdale, “I do forgive you, Hester,” replied the minister, at length, with a deep utterance out of an abyss of sadness, but no anger. “I freely forgive you now. May God forgive us both! ” (Chap. 17 pg. 21) For a moment it seemed as if Dimmesdale would never forgive Hester, but he loves her.
Dimmesdale was seen in a light with an emotion of anger and hate that had not been witnessed before. “He loathed his miserable self” (Chap. 11) Dimmesdale really did hate himself after what he had done. He knew he had committed a sin and he was too afraid of the public humiliation to own up to what he did. Inside Dimmesdale is a kind loving person that is never able to lift this guilt off of himself until it comes to the point of his death. To oppose Dimmesdale, Chillingworth is the other main male character who is a truly evil person. There is absolutely no remorse in him as he tortures Dimmesdale for his own personal vendetta.
In chapter 10, this is stated about Chillingworth, “The physician advanced directly in front of his patient, laid his hand upon his bosom, and thrust aside the vestment that hitherto had always covered it even from the professional eye. ” When this happens in the book we see a change in Chillingworth. Before we felt bad for him because his wife had betrayed his trust and he was alone. “Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself when a precious human soul is lost to heaven and won into his kingdom. “(Chap. 0) Chillingworth’s mental and physical self changed that night during this moment.
Chillingworth was transformed from his former self into a person full of hatred as if he was marked by satan himself. Though they are opposites Dimmesdale and Chillingworth have one thing in common, they both care deeply for Hester, hich is what causes the conflict between them in the first place. Chillingworth seems to care for Hester because he once loved her and still does. The only problem is she betrayed him and now he is out for revenge. Dimmesdale has always loved Hester even if he is not able to admit it until the end of the book.
He is somewhat of a coward and that makes people weary of how much he actually loves her. Dimmesdale’s attitude of others and himself completely changes throughout the novel. In the beginning he hates himself and can’t believe what he has done. He knows that he is a terrible human who God can never accept. His sermons become trong as he tries to confess to the congregation about what he has done. Unfortunately, this makes them love him more as they think if he is a sinner they definitely are. He is a little bit of a wuss. He doesn’t want to own up to what he did, he will only confess it to Hester.
Hester knows what he has done and it is unnecessary to tell her, he needs to tell the public and accept his punishment. He still loves Hester and he wants Pearl to accept him as her dad, which is impossible for Pearl to do until he has accepted his responsibility. Dimmesdale finally fully accepts that what he has done is over with and that there is othing he can do about it, he becomes happy. His new attitude gives him the strength to confess. Like Dimmesdale, Chillingworth changes, but in his case it’s for the worst. He was once a kind man who was grieving because his heart was broken.
Coming to see Hester and finding out she had a child made him angry, this changed his attitude and outlook on life completely. He no longer has an attitude that he is the victim that he could have been a better husband, he knows that he hates the man that did this to Hester and he wants to hurt him. He hates what Hester did to him, but he still loves Hester. Even though he loves her he is hurting her by etting revenge on the man who Hester had an affair with, who just happens to be Dimmesdale. This revenge has overcome Chillingworth and he really isn’t able to control his own actions.
He almost isn’t capable of holding back his anger. His new attitude of revenge is full of hatred and evil, it develops throughout the book until the point where Dimmesdale is actually dead and Chillingworth is finally content. The one thing that is the most different between the two characters in their morality. Chillingworth didn’t have many morals to begin with. When Hester wouldn’t tell him who the father was Chillingworth was immediately filled with Satan. There was never an ounce of God in this man. Dimmesdale was a very morally good person.
He knew what he did was wrong. At the same time he wasn’t able to confess this, but it is imagined that it was much harder to confess your sins in those times than it is in the present day. Dimmesdale believes that he is not worthy to go to heaven which shows that even priests and the people who are the most holy make mistakes, too. Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are foil’s for each other. Dimmesdale represents the good in the novel and Chillingworth is the bad. Chillingworth in a sense is the scarlet letter and Dimmesdale is the cause of the scarlet letter.
It is thought that Dimmesdale might be the scarlet letter because he is the one that committed the act of adultery when in fact the scarlet letter can be seen in Chillingworth. Dimmesdale is the cause and he feels the pain and suffering that come along with the letter, but he is remorseful and sorry for his actions. The scarlet letter represents evil and sin which is represented by Chillingworth. Hester and Dimmesdale wear the scarlet letters that in turn hinder them and we see the one hurting them is in fact Chillingworth. These two characters represent the two aspects of nature and everything in the world, good and evil.